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From the desk of the FIPWA General Manager

Dr Chris Vas General Manager of FIPWA

2023 has been the kick-off year at FIPWA and what a year it has been. We started with the official launch in February where we had the Minister for Agriculture and Food, along with the Minister for Regional Development grace the occasion. Since then our anchor partners on site have been busily working to complete their internal fit-out works and to have the work programs in place.

At the FIPWA R&D Centre, Murdoch University are gearing up to deliver their Food Science and Nutrition program on-site and are continuing to engage with agrifood businesses on their R&D needs.

Spinifex Brewery poured their first brews at the FIPWA Production – Brewery Centre very recently and its exciting growth times ahead for the once very little-known craft beer start-up. The The Kakadu Plum Ginger Beer (non-alc) and Geraldton Wax infused Ginger Beers (alc) are my favourites amongst a very wide range of other native Australian botanicals-infused beers.

The Future Food Systems CRC team, supported by the State Government’s Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD), who are leading the set-up and operations of the Production – Food Technology Facility are hot on the heels of completing the internal fit-out works aiming to gear up for operations in 2024.

At the Innovation Centre, the Shire has been full steam ahead working to activate the ecosystem. Vital to the vibe at the FIPWA is the Groundswell Café who opened their doors mid-year and have expanded their following from Mandurah all the way into the Peel Business Park. Their toasties and woodfired chocolate are drawing in the crowds.

Working with local businesses and stakeholders, the Innovation Centre has welcomed resident members including Peel Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Idea Academy and the Perth Food Bowl. Amongst other businesses in the network are Kinship Farms, TXM Lean Solutions, DFK Gooding, Wrays to name a few.

With a view to building capabilities and the talent pipeline, the FIPWA team also played an active part in the Great Southern Hackathon which was run over two days for all schools in the Mandurah catchment area.

This year we expanded our collaborations as well working closely with the City of Canning with whom we launched the WA F&B Alliance, hosting the NBN Co Board of Directors and then delivering a “Demystifying Digital Agriculture” event demonstrating the use of satellite technology on farms, Triangle Equity Partners who delivered the collaborative ScaleUp program, with the Future Food Systems CRC delivering a “New Product Development” workshop are just a few to name. 

And there’s more. FIPWA continued to expand its network internationally. From being invited to lead the food security theme in a hackathon in Kuwait, the Shire deepened engagement with Malaysia interacting with the Federal Government and Provincial Government of Sabah and opening up early conversations for trade and distribution with retailers. We hosted an Australian Government-led government-industry delegation from Cambodia, hosted visits from the Singapore Government and supported the visit from Japan’s Kyoto Sangyo University that was led by FIPWA-based Growhub Innovation Company.

Our partnership with the Peel Development Commission continues to scale. With their guidance and support, the Shire has released an Expression of Interest calling on industry to collaboratively work with and activate the Murray Future Food Facility as a scale-up venture within FIPWA.

It is the strength of our partnerships that resulted in the FIPWA winning the national award for Excellence in Economic Development Through Partnerships & Collaboration.

For 2024, we anticipate the momentum to continue to scale. Notwithstanding the EvokeAG conference in February and the partnership we have with the Future Food Systems CRC to showcase some activities at FIPWA, we have new industry collaborations that will come online as well.

Stay tuned. For now, the FIPWA team will sign off 2023 wishing our partners, collaborators and stakeholders a very safe and festive Christmas season ahead.